Alcohol - how much should I drink?

Food expert Janella Purcell answers your questions

Q. There’s a lot of talk about the health benefits of red wine, but where do I draw the line between a healthy intake and overconsumption? How many red wines should I consume each day or week to maximise the benefits?

A. Yes, it can be confusing. The recommendation is for two standard drinks a day, with a maximum of 14 a week. This is a 30 ml shot of spirits or a 100 ml glass of wine (a 200 ml glass of wine is usually considered ‘standard’ by the way, but this is in fact two drinks). Some alcohol is better for us than others of course. 

The alcohol with the highest antioxidant content is wine - first red, then white. But most wine is preserved with sulphur, which a lot of people react to and is harsh on our liver. Buy organic, local wine. There are a few organic wineries around making gorgeous wine. This way you are getting the good things out of the wine and leaving the harmful preservatives out, so your liver doesn’t have to process the preservatives, only the alcohol.

And be aware of the mixes you add to your spirits. Avoid tonic water, lemonade, coke and straight juice, because of the high sugar content. Add mineral water and fresh lime, or perhaps a dash of organic cordial like elderflower, or a juice that uses the whole fruit, not juice reconstituted from skins, and is Australian. 

Coconut water is lovely with vodka and fresh lime and you can sweeten your cocktails with coconut nectar instead of sugar syrup. Another option is to freeze lychees and mangoes in summer for a pretty special cocktail.

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.